In this holiday season, may you find yourself surrounded by those you love, cherished by those who love you, awakened by time spent outside the patterns of your everyday life, refreshed by the simple joys of play without purpose, nourished by insights born of quiet reflection, and eager to approach your life and work with renewed passion and creativity in the year ahead.
Please accept a few simple gifts of inspiration in the form of quotations regarding the world of story and narrative from some wise folks I’ve had the opportunity to interview.
Out of what William James called the “blooming buzzing confusion of everyday life,” the story, whether spoken or written, pulls things together to find a certain coherence that makes sense.
— Robert Coles, psychologist, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author
The story lives in the dynamic between the teller and the listener. The great novelist, E.M. Forster, once put it very brilliantly: “Only connect.”
— Robert Coles
Tolstoy defines story as an infection. The idea for Tolstoy is to infect the audience with the storyteller’s ideas and emotions. The better the story, the more infectious it is; the more infectious the ideas and the emotions.
— Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal
It’s very hard to generate a decent narrative if the scenes aren’t electric, if the characters aren’t alive, if there isn’t change or progress in the story or in a character.
— Michael Lewis, Moneyball; The Blind Side
If the story doesn’t have a moral or ethical dimension to it, some sort of value or idea that’s being communicated, it seems empty to us. We want the story to have a larger point.
— Jonathan Gottschall
Stories are basically containers for values. In a story, you’ll have characters and conflict and the setting, the things you see on the surface. Those are all placed there for a specific reason: to illustrate the moral of the story, a core truth about how the world works.
— Jonah Sachs, Winning the Story Wars
May our paths cross next year in pursuit of a world that just might work,